Kate Hall Show Notes

The Game Plan T1D Podcast: Episode 9 - Kate Hall

Sam Benger

Published on Oct 1, 2018

This episode of the Game Plan T1D Podcast features T1D athlete Kate Hall. Undeterred by her diabetes diagnosis, Kate has been dominating track and field for years. Kate is a two time high school National Champion, a two time NCAA National Champion, and an aspiring Olympian. Tune in and learn how Kate excels despite T1D!

hello t1d community what's happening

this is Sam here with game plan to you


I wanted to let everyone know that we're

coming up on our 10th episode it's been

recorded and we're releasing it a week

from today that being said it's a good

time to pause and reflect on our

progress and seek out feedback from the

MVPs the true t1d Allstars our listeners

that's right if you're listening to this

podcast and you're enjoying our content

or perhaps you think it's garbage

either way we want to know shoot me an

email at Sam at game plan to you Wendy

calm you can send us a message through

our website as well or hit us up on

social media at gameplan t1d please

don't be shy we won't be offended we

want to make sure we're serving you guys

the t1d community to the best of our

ability with that being said on today's

episode we're coming to you with another

story of inspiration and success in the

face of adversity please enjoy my

conversation with track-and-field phenom

kate hall welcome to the game plan to

indie podcast

I'm your host Sam bender on this podcast

we explore the lives of athletes living

with t1d

to try to uncover what it is that allows

them to excel despite their diabetes

today on the show I'm joined by Kate

Hall Kate how are you doing I'm good how

are you

doing fantastic this whole process for

me in starting and running game plan to

und has been so much about exploration

and trying to find the best and

brightest in terms of diabetic athletes

and I was so impressed when I came

across your I believe was your Instagram

profile and just some of the things that

you've been able to accomplish really

just blew me away but for our audience

and other people who may not be familiar

with you I wanted to give you the chance

to kind of introduce yourself yeah sure

I am kids I am originally from Maine

pretty cold but the summers are really

nice I was diagnosed with type 1

diabetes when I was 10 years old I'm now

21 and I do track and feel

old I competed in Division one level and

I'm a Division one national champion two

times and also the national high school

record holder and now I am a

professional whole track and field

athlete so that's pretty much me that's

awesome and are you so now I just said

you're a professional are you out of the

collegiate athletic realm and now into

solely competing in track and field yeah

so I'm no longer involved in the

n-c-double-a so I'm in the process now

of trying to secure a shoe contract but

I'll be jumping professionally so I'm

really excited about that

that is super exciting that is so

awesome so I want to backtrack a little

bit I want to go back obviously

in here about your diagnosis from what I

understand you were diagnosed when

you're ten years old yes so I wanted to

talk about what was that process like

what was that transition like and was

this prior to your sort of falling in

love with track and field or around the

same time and just what was that

experience like for you yeah so it was

around the same time that I started

track there's actually a little bit

before but I was really into sports I

was doing soccer I was doing basketball

I was always a very positive happy child

nothing crazy and then all of a sudden I

just started acting kind of weird I was

getting really emotional crying a lot

which wasn't like me eating a lot

drinking a lot and just I didn't want to

do anything I didn't want to go hang out

with my friends which really was unlike

me so my parents brought me to the

doctor and she was like oh you're just

you're just having a growth spurt

because you're drinking and eating a lot

and parents are kind of like um kind of

weird cuz like I was obviously acting

pretty weird so they brought me to the

hospital a couple days later when I

started feeling even worse and that's

when I find that found out

that I was diabetic and gave myself my

first-ever shot so since then it's been

it's been an experience but it's kind of

made me kind of helped motivate me in

other aspects of my life and it's Who I

am and I I want to get your tape how

long do you think that process was where

you were kind of not feeling like

yourself because I've heard ranging

accounts of people that you know I think

they were their diabetes came on in a

day and they went to the doctors right

away and they were able to diagnose it

in just a few days but other people live

with the symptoms for months before they

actually address the diagnosis but how

long was that period for you and once

you did get the diagnosis what were some

of the immediate thoughts and emotions

kind of going through your head so I

think that process is what a week or two

it was so long ago now I don't

completely remember but I'm sure it was

within a couple weeks all I remember is

playing outside with my friend and I had

to keep coming inside to get drinks

because I was just so thirsty so I kept

coming aside over and over and

apparently like was coming on like you

never drink this much so that's kind of

the first thing that I noticed and then

it just kind of kept getting worse on

the next couple weeks and that's when we

went to the doctor and and found out I

was diagnosed so it was somewhat of a

shock that I had this disease and that I

was going to be giving shots for the

rest of my life but the same time like I

wasn't scared I was pretty positive

about it and my mom was laying in my

hospital bed with me and she was really

upset she was crying and I'm like why

are you crying everything's gonna be

fine and I think the only thing I was

really kind of scared of was I was

worried that I wasn't going to be able

to play sports and once I realized that

I was going to be able to know wasn't

going to stop Maven I was okay it's

pretty wise for a ten-year-old to be

able to console her mom and

after a diagnosis but it definitely

sounds like you adapted to the situation

and took on a positive mindset right

away yeah yeah for sure

so pivoting back to track and field you

take the diagnosis in stride obviously

as you mentioned and as well get into

you have some serious accomplishments

not only at the high school level but

the collegiate level and going forward

being an aspiring olympian and a

professional athlete obviously had major

success but when did this all start to

sort of manifest at a young age where

people able to see wow you know Kate

you're you're a step ahead of everyone

and when when and how did that sort of

all start to manifest yeah I was I was

pretty young I was always athletic as a

young child but it wasn't until I would

say my sophomore year of high school

where I was becoming pretty good on a

national level and that's when I

realized that I wanted to jump in

college and I wanted to pursue a career

and hopefully make the Olympics someday

my marks were getting much better in the

long jump and I had gone to the national

meet and scored in high school and in my

senior year end up winning and setting

the national record so I just kept

working hard and I really attribute that

to my diabetes because from a very young

age I had to make all these calculations

and give these shots so my work I've had

really started that and when I was ten

and correct me if I'm wrong but you were

also nationally ranked as a sprinter as

well in addition to the long jump yes

yes so what what was that process like

being able to not only excel in the

field events and in jumping but also on

the track as well yes all right

I always did both the long jump and the

sprints it wasn't until I'd say my

senior year of high school where I

noticed that if I was going to be really

good is going to be the long-ago

but I love running as well and it's good

to do so

because then you're not always focused

on just one event but I kept getting

better and better and sprinting and even

the past year I got better and was

all-american at the end of a meet so my

goal is to keep getting better and

hopefully maybe look at child for that

as well so I wanted to ask obviously

two-time national high school champion

certainly the culmination of a lot of

work during that high school period what

were those competitions like and what do

you recall from those competitions yes

so in high school all the meats are

pretty low-key there wasn't like a huge

crowd there wasn't anything super

exciting until the major bigger

meats but when I got to the collegiate

level it was completely different I'd go

to a meet and the stands would be fallen

especially in Oregon where the Nationals

usually I would be at least 20,000

people in the stands so my first time

ever competing there which was the

Olympic Trials two years ago it was

pretty overwhelming because I wasn't

used to that and everyone's watching you

and cheering you on but when I kind of

got used to that environment it actually

helped me and helped push me and it's

very exciting and in moving to be in

such a cool environment where other

people are very excited about the sport

yeah I wanted to ask I mean I I did

track in high school but by no means was

anywhere in the same ballpark as you my

background is in purview is football but

what is it like as an athlete to do so

much training and put in so much effort

and then have when it gets to the stage

of competition all of your effort comes

down to one or two or three or however

run it is jumps it's a very small sample

size to kind of display your ability how

do you make sure that you're executing

and performing at a high level for that

one jump yes so for a track it's

definitely all about the training

because obviously in other sports like

basketball baseball there's so many

games but with track it's really just


meets a season which is not many at all

so it really just comes down to being

consistent in training and doing like

full approach jumps in practice and

pretending you're out of meat and then

if you're consistent in practice and

feeling good then usually that's kind of

an indicator that you're going to be

doing well at meats I recall from my

days in high school tracked the timing

of events was very punctual and a lot of

people seemed to have different routines

obviously with being a diabetic there's

sort of an added layer there do you kind

of have a pre jump routine that you go

through pretty regularly so my warmup is

always very consistent I'm usually doing

the same warm-ups even during practice

when I go to me it might be a little bit

longer I might do a couple of activation

thing just to get my body a little bit

more ready but when it comes to like

being on the runway or getting into the

blocks I always have the same kind of

routine and it helps relax me and gets

me ready and I think it's it's really

helpful and important and how does

diabetes factor into that are you

checking you know multiple times leading

up to the jump how does that all play

into the situation that's the other

things so we get like a schedule of

events obviously so I'm kind of planning

out my meals throughout the day and I'm

trying to eat three hours before

competitions so that my blood Sugar's

are are stable at that point and then

I'm checking every 30 minutes once I get

to the track and then I'm looking at my

CGM to see what that is so it's

definitely a process but I've done it so

many times that it's pretty normal now

kind of becoming second nature at this

point yeah yeah exactly

so we talked about competing at the high

school level obviously you mentioned

stepping up to college with 20,000

people in the stands was completely

different how did you handle that

transition and what was it like

competing at that higher level it

definitely was a transition like I said

before it's very different in high

school especially living in Maine tracks

not not super huge just because it's

cold during the outdoor season early to

start of the outdoor season so it can be

hard but once I started going to the

bigger meats I got more comfortable and

I actually loved it because then I knew

at the beach I would always have

competitions and they are always going

to push me to become better so that's

kind of when I realized oh I want to

always be at big meats like this and if

I want to be a big meats like this I

need to get better and go to school

Division one and exceed so what was the

emotion of winning not once but twice at

the NC double-a level how gratifying was

that obviously you had the success at

the high school level but there's so

much added uncertainty when you bump up

in competitiveness to that collegiate

level what were some of the emotions

they were feeling after winning not once

but twice pretty it's pretty hard to

explain that I was just so happy and

grateful because I love the sport and

that's I think why I I'm so motivated

why I keep getting better is because I

love the sport and I love training and

it had always been a big goal in mind to

well first my be goal was to win on the

high school level

Michael national level and then go into

college and one as well and when I was

able to accomplish that it was just a

dream come true true and it was so

exciting so on that topic of dreams in

goal setting you mentioned the fact that

you're an aspiring Olympian yes when did

that first kind of pop into your head

that you know this could be a reality

and this is something that I want to

sort of set my sights on so it's

actually kind of a funny story I was

only a freshman in high school the

Olympic Trials were on TV so 30 2012 at

that point I was only jumping 17 feet in

the long jump

and these Olympians are jumping 22 feet

so huge gap they're 17 feet is really

good for veins but not super great on a

national level at that age so when I was

watching the trials on TV I kind of

calculated in my mind how much further

I need to jump each year to make it to

the Olympics and qualify for that

standard I guess every year I started

getting better and when I was watching

that on TV I said I'm going to be in the

Olympic Trials four years from now so

every year I got better and then I

jumped 20 to 5 I senior year of high

school money that was well above the

standard and I knew hit in each yeah I

was very exciting and one of my biggest

goals Wow

and was this a goal that was written

down somewhere that you kind of looked

to on a daily basis as you were training

and how how was it sort of seeing

yourself progress from 17 to 18 to 19 to

eventually that 22 foot mark yes so I

actually I'm in my room right now and

actually like all my wall I have feel a

big standard written from back when I

wasn't even in high school so I still

look at that I have I would look at it

every single day above my mirror and see

that and that would kind of motivate me

to get better and I had an amazing coach

as well so he really helped me get

better every year yeah it was just

working hard and making sure that I body

feels good and and I was able to do it

so I was really exciting so you have the

goals set from a track and field

standpoint from an athletic standpoint

do you also have anywhere written or

sort of mental goals with regard to your

diabetes this could be I want to check

at least eight times a day or I want to

do calibrations to my CGM twice a day or

r1 my a1c to be 6.5 any sort of goal

setting with the diabetes that you could

kind of relate to your goal setting with

track and field for sugar

I usually my goal is to check like six

to eight times a day I think the biggest

thing for me is just making sure that my

blood Sugar's are really good before

during and after my workouts I went

through icing a period like a month ago

where my blood Sugar's were constantly

low during my workouts

so I kind of met with my doctor and he

talking about it and we came up with a

plan the goal was to eliminate those

lows because obviously affecting my

training so what kind of just taking

things like one week at a time and

setting new goals as we go so you

mentioned your checking I wanted to ask

about the system of management that you

sort that you use from a technology

standpoint what what is the system of

management that you use and how does

that sort of empower you to go forward

and perform at a high level yeah so I

use omni pod and i've been using that

for four years I was initially initially

using Medtronic but it was really hard

it was tracked with the tubing because

if you're going to go to attract me in

high school where you could be doing

four events you don't have a lot of time

to kind of sit around so I couldn't wear

it because of always falafels was on so

that was kind of an issue so then I got

the ugly pod because you don't have to

disconnect stays right on doesn't come

off no tubing so that's made a huge huge

difference and by training so it's been

great and then I noticed no CGM yes yes

I do

you do have a CGM yeah I've been using

that for past I think three years now

and that's been very convenient because

now I don't have to prick my fingers

every thirty minutes I can just look at

my my meter and it tells me what my

blood sugars are at all times before

they're trending and causes way less

stress so it's really cool for sure I

think see GM's have to be one of the

most important breakthroughs for

diabetic treatment you know in the last

however many years certainly helping

athletes just make sure that they're

performing at the highest level possible

you mentioned having some lows during

training sessions I wanted to ask what

do you sort of feel is the most

consistent challenge you face as a

diabetic athlete second questions I

think I think the answer would

just kind of having so for my training

I'm always training at different times

during the day it could be early morning

it could be afternoon I found that it

can be hard to get my blood Sugar's to

stay on a good level no matter what kind

of day I'm training so right now I'm

trying to figure out different setting

for different times a day on training so

I think that's the hardest thing right

now like I said with the lows I was

getting those I think mostly for lunch

and I was training a lot before lunch

last month so once we kind of set like a

tent basal and then started working out

at a different time those went away

so yeah I found temp basil's can be some

people are mad scientist when it comes

to the amount of temp Basil's they do

and things that they program in and yeah

all of that's really empowered by the

technology we have today and it's

fantastic yeah on the flip side of

insulin and treatment from that

standpoint I want to ask about obviously

you're doing a lot of training and as an

athlete fueling your body is hugely

important I wanted to ask about sort of

what is your nutrition plan and what do

you use to fuel your body obviously

common concern is carbohydrates as

emily's we need that energy source but

at the same time it can cause our blood

sugars to spike and also drop as well so

what is your system for nutrition I

actually have celiac disease as well so

that's another thing on my plate that

I'm that I'm dealing with but it's good

because it kind of helped me stay

healthy and I had that when I got that

when I was diagnosed as well so I've

been dealing with that since I was 10 so

it was really good to get that at a

young age because I've just been living

that way for a long time and it's only

getting easier as more products come out

that are gluten-free but I'd have to say

yeah I do

I do eat a lot of carbs because

like you said your body needs it of

energy but I try to stay away from sugar

obviously that's more fast-acting than

like a bowl of pasta so you're not going

to get those spikes as much if you have

a lot of sugar so I try to stay away

from really sugary things which includes

Gatorade or Powerade I try to drink like

coconut water instead and that's what I

found helps a lot but yeah I do eat a

lot of rice a lot of pasta I really like

to pull away yeah logically I need a lot

of meat - a lot of chickens so things

like that mainly a lot of fruits and

veggies and seeds and nuts so yeah I

think diet and people talk about

exercise all the time but diet and if

you can really dial in a good low carb

low glycemic index diet that is one of

the most important things you can do for

your blood sugar and on a side note if

Chipotle wants to sponsor this podcast I

just huge fan of that but I wanted to

pivot I was doing some background

research before this call and I read an

article that you actually went down to

Washington DC and testified before

Congress before the aging committee in

2015 what was that experience like and

what was it like to be invited to speak

in that setting I was amazing I was

actually really nervous because at that

point I only had a little bit of

experience speaking in front of the

crowd so I was pretty nervous going up

there and speaking in front of Congress

but it went really well it was one of

the best experiences of my life and I

got to meet some pretty cool people and

hopefully made a difference so it was it

was one of the best experiences and for

our listeners who may not know the

context of that of those discussions

what was sort of that difference in the

impact that you guys were trying to

achieve by being there in speaking with

Congress yeah so I was really talking

about living with diabetes and how it

affects not only my legs in general but

my training and all that in just

trying to show them how finding a cure

is so important so just explaining that

to Congress and then going through that

I think I think that made made a

difference to me like I said it was if I

could do it again I would because it was

it was amazing yeah I think the further

government to hear different

perspectives and for the health care

companies to hear different perspectives

from people living with t1d is hugely

important on that topic of advocacy I

wanted to get your take on if there was

a piece of advice that you could offer

up to someone that was perhaps just

diagnosed or someone who's just had

diabetes for a while but is going

through a rough patch right now what

would be your advice and what would be

your message to that person into that

community and why my message would be

that it doesn't have to stop you from

doing anything a lot of people are

scared that they're not going to be not

gonna be able to do what they want but

that's not the case as long as you stay

positive about it you can actually turn

it into something good and it can push

you in all other aspects of your life to

become better and that's what it is for

me so I think it's really important to

get that message across and and also to

not be scared to share with others I

know other diabetics but are a little

shy about sharing whether their friends

or or whoever else and don't you don't

need to be because it's they're only

going to help you know when I look up to

you for for dealing with this so yeah I

think to high school national

championships and to NC double-a

championships will certainly point to

the fact that diabetes does not have to

hold you back no that's not yeah I think

like you know the t1d community is just

so inspirational yeah go on Instagram

type in t1d warrior type into you Wendy

strong type into you indi community and

you will just be blown away by the

amount of awesome people out there doing

awesome things but Kate I you know you

talked about transitioning to becoming a

professional athlete

want to know what's next you talked

about a shoot contract you talked about

the Olympics what should we be looking

out for for Cait hall yeah so what's

next is the World Championships next

year so that's kind of what I'm training

for right now and then the ultimate goal

is feel addiction in 2020 so move right

now is training getting ready for that

trying to secure a shoe contract trying

to find some sponsors so that's what's

going on right now but like I said the

ultimate goal will be the Olympics

well with that we will conclude this

episode of a game plan to und podcast I

know myself and our listeners will be

pulling for UK which is about the world

championships next year and obviously at

the 2020 Olympics as well fingers

crossed there and thank you so much for

coming on the show thank you appreciate


I am Katie Hall I have type one diabetes

and I have a game plan we hope you

enjoyed this episode of the game plan to

indie podcast for related content please